A TOTAL of 366 candidates will fight it out for votes in next month’s elections in Oxfordshire.
Three of the county’s district councils are holding elections while polls are also taking place for the European Parliament.
A wide range of parties are hoping to win votes on May 22 – from the Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties to the Monster Raving Loony Party and the Roman Party, Ave.
Some notable names are also hoping to win votes – such as landowner James Mawle, who is standing for UKIP in Witney South for the West Oxfordshire District Council elections.
Mr Mawle – who did not respond to the Oxford Mail’s request for a comment – has been active in the campaign against the Cogges Link Road.
Rose Hill resident Anneliese Dodds is top of Labour’s list in the European Parliament elections.
She said: “I am standing for the European Parliament because politics around the EU have become very polarised, and people who stand in the middle and think the EU has done some good things but needs to improve are not having their voices heard.”
Catherine Bearder, who has been a Lib Dem MEP for the South East since 2009, said: “What got me involved in politics in the first place was the environment and I realised that it is bigger than local or national politics.
“If we are to get to grips with that we have to work internationally.”
Another European candidate who might be familiar to Oxford voters is Julia Gasper, who is second on the English Democrats’ list.
Headington resident Dr Gasper used to be chairman of Oxford UKIP but stood down because of what she described as a “press vendetta” after being accused of making homophobic comments on a party members’ forum.
For its part, UKIP has fielded a full list of 10 candidates in the European elections as well as 33 candidates in the 58 wards up for election at Oxford City Council, Cherwell District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council.
Dickie Bird, the chairman of Cherwell UKIP, said: “People want and need change within local councils.
“I am very hopeful for these elections and I believe we can do well in Oxford as well.”
He is standing in the Aston and Heyfords ward for Cherwell District Council and in Blackbird Leys for Oxford City Council.
The Green Party also has a strong presence, with 49 candidates in 58 wards, including one in every Oxford ward.
Labour is fielding 56 candidates while the Conservatives have 59 – the only party to field a candidate in every ward – and the Lib Dems have 42.
There has not been a Conservative elected to the city council since 2002, but Katharine Harborne, deputy chairwoman of Oxford East Conservatives who is standing in Quarry and Risinghurst, said: “There are Conservatives out there in Oxford, a lot more than you think, but they haven’t all got the Conservative message yet.
“We are beginning to shake things up, but you have got to start somewhere.”